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Locker Room Labs Sports Technology Spotlight: Benji Sloan

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Welcome to the eighth edition of the Locker Room Labs Sports Technology Spotlight. In this series, we sit down with industry partners and experts to discuss the evolving world of sports tech including the incredible innovations being developed in the space. The next professional we interviewed is Benji Sloan, Advisory Board Member of RecruitMe Sports and a Consultant at PlaySpark. Benji discusses his perspective on topics that are trending in sports technology such as AI, startups, and much more.

In your opinion, what are the key success factors for tech companies to stand out in a saturated market?

In a saturated market like sports tech, standing out requires a combination of innovative thinking, strategic positioning, and effective branding. You must constantly innovate to develop unique and cutting-edge technologies that address unmet needs or provide significant improvements over existing solutions. Forging strategic partnerships with sports organizations, teams, leagues, athletes, and other relevant stakeholders not only provides credibility but also opens up opportunities for co-development, co-marketing, and access to a wider audience. Investing in developing a strong brand identity and marketing strategy to differentiate your company from competitors helps tremendously. Highlighting your unique value proposition, customer testimonials, case studies, and success stories can help establish credibility and attract new customers.

It’s also of critical importance to actively leverage feedback from customers, partners, and industry experts at every step along the way. You’re never too early in the life of your company to incorporate this feedback into your current offerings as you look to improve with the next iterations of products or services.

What do you believe are the most significant challenges for new startups in the industry?

Gaining traction as a new startup in the industry is no easy task, and several consistent challenges await any company dipping its toes into the water for the first time.

One of the most significant challenges centers around a company’s already established market competition. Is your startup company providing a solution to a pain point that current companies have failed to address? In the minds of the founders, the product or service may be phenomenal – but if it doesn’t provide a solution to what the current market needs, success will be hard to come by.

It is also difficult for some new startups to manage their internal company expectations. Launching a new venture with the thought that it will be an overnight success will only lead to frustration and disappointment. It’s not easy to gain traction in the beginning. It’s important to understand that it’s necessary to “play the long game” if you want sustained success. Build genuine relationships with potential clients and customers and that will provide you with a stronger foundation than taking a transactional approach to networking.

Finally, it’s important to understand when to pivot with your business model and have the confidence to do so no matter how early you are in the process. As a founder, your initial offering may not match with what your potential customers are indicating they need. At the end of the day, if you’re not giving the people what they want then your road to growth and success is going to be very difficult to navigate.

From your experience, what role do you think emerging technologies like AI and blockchain will play in shaping the future of sports technology?

I think AI will play an increasingly massive role in shaping the future of sports technology. During the past decade, we have seen incredible advancements and innovations in wearable performance technology. AI-powered analytics can analyze vast amounts of data collected from sensors, wearables, and video feeds to provide insights into athlete performance, injury prevention, and training optimization. This can help coaches and athletes make data-driven decisions to enhance performance and reduce the risk of injuries.

We will also see AI continue to open doors to a lot of innovation in fan engagement and how people consume content. AI-driven content recommendation systems can personalize the fan experience by delivering targeted content, such as highlights, statistics, and news, based on individual preferences and viewing habits. Not only that, but when media and broadcasting companies further integrate AI technology into video editing, highlight reel creation, and game commentary, we could see a vastly different – but super cool – sports content landscape.

Benji Sloan: Advisory Board Member of RecruitMe Sports | Consultant at PlaySpark

Can you share your perspective on the current trends and innovations in sports technology that you find most exciting?

The use of virtual reality for training purposes in sports is very exciting to me. I have an extensive background in human performance and athlete medical care. One of the challenges in the sports medicine field relates to how and when practitioners can safely re-integrate an athlete into practices and games at the end of an injury recovery process. Yes, there are rehab protocols that provide structured return-to-play benchmarks, but it’s sometimes a delicate balance of risk vs. reward. The use of virtual reality provides athletes with an important bridge to practice reps without the risk of injury.

The health and safety of athletes are paramount everywhere, especially at the collegiate and professional levels. When money is on the line – or in this case, money being invested into the athletes in the form of scholarships or multi-million dollar contracts – sports organizations will always do what it takes to protect those investments. Integrating virtual reality technology that will reduce wear and tear on the athletes’ bodies is an exciting trend that will help increase performance and prolong their playing careers.

As a leader in sports business development, what challenges have you encountered in staying ahead of the curve in terms of technological advancements?

The pace of technological change in the sports industry is incredibly fast with innovations and advancements emerging regularly. Keeping up with these rapid changes requires continuous learning and monitoring of industry trends.

Implementing new technological advancements often requires significant investments in terms of financial resources, skilled personnel, and infrastructure. Limited budgets and resource constraints can hinder the ability to adopt and leverage new technologies effectively, especially for smaller organizations or startups.

Just because new available technology could be useful or enhance a company’s offering doesn’t mean it will be easy to integrate. Finding a strong mesh between new technology, existing systems, and workflows can be complex and challenging, particularly in large companies with long-established processes. Ensuring seamless integration requires careful planning, coordination, and technical expertise.

About Benji Sloan

Benji has over 25 years of involvement in sports analytics and sports medicine. He has a unique background as a former NFL athletic trainer and has business development experience. As a seasoned Business Development Professional and former NFL Athletic Trainer, Benji brings a distinctive skill set to the table. Among his many skills are lead generation, strategic development, CRM management, and marketing. His journey was shaped by a steadfast commitment to hard work, ambition, and adaptability. If you’re in search of a dedicated resource, seamlessly blending over two decades of industry experience with an unwavering drive for business development success, contact Benji here.

About Locker Room Labs

We are a US-based, and software engineer-owned, development team specializing in sports, betting, fantasy, and iGaming. From UX Design and MVP Development to Custom App Development and Fractional CTO services, we are tailored to bring sports software to life. A testament to our innovation is “The Playbook,” a proprietary sports platform-as-a-service that accelerates development time and saves clients on build costs. To reach us, you can visit our website here.

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